Homeschool Curriculum

I’ve been asked by several different people lately what I use for homeschool curriculum.  As a mom with a business and a full-time job, here are some of the criteria I’m looking for in a homeschool curriculum.

1.  It must be easy to use.

2.  It must be a challenging & effective.

3.  My kids have to like it.

4.  It has to be easy to integrate with all three kids.

5.  The lessons have to be manageable in my available time–not only during the day, but also within the school year.

With these criteria, here are some of my favorite curriculum choices.

1.  All About Spelling.  Great curriculum for phonics and reading.  AAS is hands-on and provides a variety of learning experiences, from tactile to visual to auditory.  Students learn the phonics sounds first and build on their knowledge to both learn how to spell AND how to read.  All of my kids were reading within a few weeks of using this program.  I love that AAS also has readers that go right along with the lessons–no words that they can’t read!  Also, there is a great opportunity for handwriting practice with extra words and sentences for kids to practice.  Three subjects in one!  We do one lesson (step) a week and can finish a book a year, but the curriculum is designed to go at the learner’s pace.

2.  Horizons Math.  Horizons and Singapore math are the top two math programs as far as challenging curriculum.  Saxon is about a grade level behind.  Horizons and Singapore are a bit above grade level.  Horizons is colorful, Christian based, and it teaches the concepts, not just drill.  I do like to do flashcard practice along with the textbook, though, as knowing the facts makes doing the math a little easier. Doing 5 lessons a week, this curriculum will take a little longer than 26 weeks.  Last summer I just had the kids finish up the last lessons at their own pace through the summer.

3.  Apologia Science.  Fantastic Christian science curriculum.  We’ve been doing astronomy this year.  You can easily finish the entire book by reading the lesson one week and then doing an experiment the next.  This can be done with all three kids, even though they are at different levels.  There is a great workbook available, too, for older kids to do additional activities.

4.  History–Next year, we’re going to try Apologia History.  It’s arranged by continent, so students learn geography and history at the same time–love that!  I can’t wait to try it out.  I’m hoping that this will be a one lesson a week curriculum, too.  It’s definitely one that we can all do together.

5.  Grammar–I’ve been using Shurley English.  It’s a little intensive if you follow the teacher’s manual.  However, I love that my second grader can identify prepositions and possessive pronouns!  I recommend getting the workbook.  I don’t really even look at the teacher’s manuals.  The kids label their sentences each day and sometimes do additional practice.  It’s a great foundation.

6.  Other:

My kids love Explode the Code for phonics practice. (They do this on their own)

Megan’s new favorite is Daily Paragraph Editing.  (She is doing this instead of Explode the Code–she can even check her own answers!)

 

For art, we’ve been doing the Creatively Fit Painting Marathon this year.  We paint a painting a week!

 

 

 

For Bible, we work on the kids’ Awanas verses.

 

 

In case you’re wondering…we usually do school from 8:30/9:00 to noon.

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